Garden Valley Elder Prepares for Alaskan Mission

November 01, 2008 | Dene Ross

Along with family and friends, 54 Garden Valley Church members gathered at the Garden Valley airport on Sabbath, Sept. 13, to dedicate a 1959 Cessna-182 aircraft slated for a Togiak, Alaska, mission project. Russ Johnson, retired Alaska Conference president and member of the Cloverdale Adventist Church, officiated with help from Gary Lynde and Mike Van Dyk from Project Patch, and Blaine Kenney, from the Baker City (Ore.) Church.

The plane will be piloted by Dan Rotthoff, an 80-year-old church elder, who plans to pursue a mission call to the Alaska Conference as an aviation missionary pilot.

Rotthoff spent most of the past 40 years as a cattle rancher offering out-fitting services to the public. His rigorous outdoor lifestyle on horseback, guiding big game hunters, and hosting pack-in fishing trips and family vacations has physically and spiritually conditioned Rotthoff for this assignment. Rotthoff is a deeply spiritual man with an undying burden for mission.

Rotthoff holds a private pilot certificate with class II medical. He is currently acquiring his commercial license and instrument rating to meet AWA's minimum qualifications. Upon meeting these requirements, he proposes to pilot the newly dedicated aircraft as an AWA Level-1 mission project. He longs to spread the great gospel news to the native peoples of Alaska.

"It's been a tremendous motivation to us as we've watched Dan accept this call and put his convictions into action. We have all prayed and received a huge blessing as the Lord prepares Dan for the mission field," says Dan Ross, Garden Valley Church head elder. "At Dan's age, most folks are thinking about taking it easy and waiting for the Lord's appearing. But Dan Rotthoff's faith and persistence has made us realize that…when God is your pilot—the sky's the limit!"